Yorkshire Vikings v Notts Outlaws - ‘We’re probably half the team now’ admits Andrew Gale

THE best-laid plans of mice and men.
Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.comYorkshire’s Matthew Fisher. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

As Yorkshire prepare to start their T20 Blast campaign against Notts this evening, Andrew Gale, the first-team coach, has bemoaned how the club was aiming to have a really good crack at winning the competition for the first time only for you-know-what to play havoc with the season.

“We were probably going into the season really targeting this competition; we were really making a push for it,” said Gale.

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“We still want to win it, of course. but, with everything that’s changed, we’re probably half the team down now.

“It’s going to be tough.

“At the start of the season, and going back to last winter, we made plans to bring in players that would make a massive difference in T20 cricket, the likes of Dawid Malan and Nicholas Pooran.

“We thought we’d have Adil Rashid back for a large chunk of the competition, too, but now he’s away with England, along with several others.

“When you lose guys like that, you can’t replace them, and I’m a big believer in T20 that the more experience you’ve got, the better you are.

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“We’re going to be very inexperienced but, as in four-day cricket this year, it’s an opportunity for some of the young lads to step up and show us what they’ve got. ‘Show us what you can do. Show us that we’ve got strength in depth’.

“Guys who would probably never have been anywhere near this T20 side back in March/April will be given a chance, and it’s an opportunity for them to showcase their skills.

“It will be tough for them. T20 is a tough game. If you’re slightly off and you’re not on it, you’ll go round the park as a bowler, and to clear the ropes consistently as a batter as well is tough.

“But I’m excited about it and I’m pretty laid back about it.

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“If we play to our full potential, then we’ve got a chance, but there’s some good teams out there.

“You look at the Notts team, for example; they’re very experienced. They’ve brought in an overseas player in Dan Christian as well.

“We haven’t got the finances with everything that’s happened to bring anyone in, but it is what it is. We’ll be giving it our best.”

Yorkshire have four players in England’s 14-man squad for the three-match T20 series in Manchester that starts on Friday.

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Adil Rashid, Jonny Bairstow, Malan and David Willey (the latter appointed Yorkshire’s T20 captain only last February) are all involved, while Ben Coad (side) is missing through injury.

On the flip side, Coad’s pace bowling partner Matthew Fisher is back in the squad following an abdominal injury, while Joe Root, the England Test captain, will tonight play his first match for Yorkshire since April last year – and only his second T20 game for the county in just over four years.

Root, who is not an automatic selection in international T20 cricket, wants to further his claims in the 20-over format.

Yorkshire are unclear as to Root’s availability going forward, although it is conceivable that he could feature in the first half of their 10-match group campaign pending the announcement of England’s white-ball squads for next month’s T20s and one-day internationals against Australia.

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As ever, the whole England player-availability situation is more complex than a particularly fiendish Rubik’s Cube. Suffice to say that Gale considers it “a bonus” to have Root available for any fixtures.

Along with his Yorkshire team-mates, some of whom will perhaps be only vaguely familiar to him, such as the young batsman Matthew Revis, who has made only one first-team appearance so far, Root has been playing exclusively red-ball cricket this year and there has been even less time than normal to switch between the formats.

In that respect only, Yorkshire were grateful for the rain that washed out the final day of the Bob Willis Trophy game against Lancashire at Headingley on Tuesday.

It enabled Gale to get his players into the indoor nets for some T20 work.

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“In many ways, the rain came at a good time because the lads were able to practise hitting sixes and bowling yorkers,” he said. “We got a day’s preparation that we didn’t think we’d have.

“We haven’t really had time to build up to the competition – we didn’t even have time before the first game four or five weeks ago because we were all concentrating on the red-ball stuff – so it’s not ideal, but every team is in the same situation.

“I think my emphasis throughout this competition will be on mental freshness, staying as fresh as possible because the games are going to come thick and fast.

“If there’s an opportunity for a day off, take it. I don’t think we’re at a stage where the odd session here and there is going to improve skill levels all that much, so I think mental freshness is going to be key.”

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Yorkshire (from): Brook, Fisher, Fraine, Hill, Kohler-Cadmore (cap), Loten, Lyth, Pillans, Poysden, Revis, Root, Shutt, Tattersall, Thompson.

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James Mitchinson